Employers hint at pay rises as jobs market set for boost
ONE-third of employers plan to give their staff pay rises this year, worth an average 2pc of salary.
The main employer group also revealed that the jobs market is set for a boost, as six out of 10 of its members expect to recruit in the next six months.
IBEC, whose members employ more than 70pc of the private sector workforce, said the pay rises were likely in workplaces that had become more efficient and productive.
The pay survey of 550 members found that 33pc will increase basic pay this year, an increase on the 24pc who were planning pay hikes at the end of last year.
But most employers will freeze wages, meaning no cuts or pay rises. The good news for workers is that just 4pc plan to cut pay, although the average cut is deep, at 7pc.
IBEC director Brendan McGinty said staff at pharmaceutical and medical device companies and firms that trade abroad were most likely to get the pay increases. "This is vital if jobs are to be retained and new ones created," he said.
"Encouragingly, 2012 labour cost estimates from the European Commission show that Ireland is heading in the right direction."
However, he said Ireland was still the ninth most expensive country in the EU, compared to its fifth placing two years ago, while labour costs are still 12pc above the eurozone average.
He said most firms were not in a position to give pay increases and were focused on getting their pay costs back in line with their trading partners.
Overall, the predicted changes to wages would lead to an average increase of half a per cent in pay across all workplaces.
Two-thirds of the companies said they were going through 'change plans', and over half expected new products or services to be developed at their firm this year.
IBEC predicted the economy will grow by 1pc this year because of strong performances by exporters.
It said job creation had already exceeded job losses for the first time since 2007, and claimed a Yes vote in the referendum would continue the economic momentum.